Sandals Resort – Ochi Rios
By Cacinda Maloney
That was all I heard my son say when Romeo introduced himself to us and extended his gloved right hand. We shook hands and he escorted us onto what would be essentially our ride from one of the main areas of the resort in a private golf cart to Butler Village.
“The Butler Village, that’s what.”
Little did I know, they thought I was bringing my husband and had the bed and bath decked out for a romantic night ahead! lol
We would be staying in the Butler Village for four nights at Sandals Ochi Rios Resort in Jamaica. I had invited my teenage son to be my guest for the Grand Re-opening of the resort, since they had invited me to join in. Soon enough, Romeo loaded our gear onto the golf cart and off we went. The golf cart was a perfect touch after a long ride over to Ochi Rios from the Montego Bay Airport, especially after waiting in the Sandals Lounge upon arrival. We had to get up at the crack of dawn in Phoenix to get to this side of the world and we quite exhausted upon arrival.
The Butler Village
So what really is a private Butler at Butler Village – Sandals? Here on the island, all butlers are certified by the British Guild of Certified Butlers. Basically, they are here to help you throughout your stay while at Sandals, making it as breeze free as possible. They give you a charged cell phone that is a one-touch button to their service and can help get you pretty much anything that you want. Our first night we were so tired that we just dialed his number and had him bring us room service. They also do things like transportation to and from the other side of the resort (it is quite a walk) to reservations of any type.
A little background history of Jamaica and the Maloney Family
My son has a history with this island that I don’t even have. As his travel writer Mom, it’s quite awesome that he has been to places that even I hadn’t been before. Two years ago, my son came here alone to do volunteer work trip with a group called Fields of Growth. Essentially, he was a volunteer for a week in a program that teaches the game of Lacrosse to disadvantaged kids in the Kingston area. By teaching these kids the game of Lacrosse, they essentially help teach them the game of life. He also did a lot of other volunteering on the island like bringing food and medicine to the poor and elderly, opening his eyes to a whole new world. He has since returned to the island to do a 7-week internship again this year, so for him, he has seen many sides of island life.
As you know, resort life couldn’t be anything further from the mean streets of Kingston, but who doesn’t like to enjoy a little resort life?
Let me tell you a bit about it:
Sandals is a huge company that is locally owned and has four resorts throughout Jamaica, but also in the Caribbean as well. I had been invited out for the grand re-opening of Sandals Ochi since they have recently had a multi-million dollar remodel. It is an all-inclusive resort with a new beach club, 11 bars, and 16 restaurants, so to say it is huge is an understatement. It is actually two linked resorts in one. Basically, it has two sides, one beachside and the other the inland side. The two sides are supposed to offer two different experiences in one. One with unsurpassed privacy when you want a serene escape and the other a “garden of Eden” experience with over 100 acres of lush island landscape. You get to enjoy both during your stay here.
Bob Marley’s drink (a blend of light rum, strawberry daiquiri mix, ice, chopped mango, sweet & sour, and blue curacao) and Jamaican Smiles (a mix of strawberry daiquiri, piña colada, and Jamaican rum cream) were everywhere. They were all made from the local rum and were certainly delicious. One of the best things about being in an “all-inclusive” resort is that the cocktails are all included. This includes the mini bar in your room, but in my case, they were not mini, yet full sized bottles!
There are a whopping 105 pools at Sandals Ochi. This number includes the public and private ones, since almost every villa has access to a private or semi-private pool. You will always have access to some type of water to jump into, so don’t worry about that. On the inland side of the resort, they have just finished remodeling an enormous pool with a swim up bar and have numerous activities going on around the pool all day long. On the ocean side of the resort, there are plenty of floating toys, kayaking, snorkeling, lounge chairs with umbrellas and water activities for you to enjoy.
OK, so now back to the sounds of “yippee” I heard from my son!
The Party Day Cruise
And if all of that water wasn’t enough, you can even take a day cruise out on the Sandal’s private yacht with their company Island Routes, where you can learn to dance the local dances, drink and go for a snorkel (depending on the weather).
In fact, the very next time I heard my son say “yippee” was on board the private yacht for our party cruise the next day. Although it was mostly older adults, he certainly didn’t mind blending in with the crowd as they rocked out the boat with popular Rastafarian music (one of mine and his favorite). The crew and guests danced the day away onboard the deck and even inside on the dance floor where the yacht had a private DJ. My son loved it and I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed being out on the water myself.
There is a multitude of activities for people to do while at the resort and since it is an all-inclusive resort, the difficult thing is trying to decide what to do while you are there. We were able to visit only a few of the restaurants while there, but it wasn’t for a lack of trying. We really enjoyed the Jerk Shack, Dinos and The Southern Table for casual dining and Soy and Kimono’s for more elegant dining. Honestly, one of the best parts of any evening at Sandals though is sitting out on the pier and waiting for the sunset to appear before our very eyes!
Disclosure: My stay at Sandals Ochi Rios Resort was courtesy of them, but my joy staying there and seeing my son having the time of his life was all my own doing.